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The Begining

In the activist tumult of the 1960's and 70's, the people of Garhwal, especially women, gave voice to their frustration against bad governance and superstition. As a platform for their struggle, Swami Manmathan founded Shri Bhuvneshwari Mahila Ashram in 1976.

communitybuildingashram2The word "movement" is inextricably linked to the personality of Swami ji and his entire life. The ashram represented a new kind of movement, a more intimate approach to understanding and sharing the problems of the people. Swami Manmathan made a commitment to promoting the happiness of the mountain people, and the key to this was to prioritise the development of women and children.

The local people contributed their wealth, time, labour, and heart to the establishment of the Shri Bhuvneshwari Mahila Ashram. Now, the fruits of the volunteers' participation are evident on the grounds of the ashram and in the surrounding communities. Major Hari Shankar Joshi donated 79 naillis of land in Anjanisain to the Swami ji for the foundation of SBMA. The local villagers volunteered to build the terraces, grounds, and initial facilities of the ashram.

Some disenfranchised women and orphan children came to make a new home here at that time. It was a very challenging time because women leaving their home to live in an ashram posed a threat to the established and accepted social norms. Most everyone had great difficulty in accepting the new ideas that were represented and being manifested on the SBMA campus. But these women and children were not afraid to contradict engrained social institutions in order to seek a better life for themselves, and in the process they redefined the social structure of the local community.

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